Major James Logan Spidel, age 30, of Saint Thomas, Pennsylvania passed away on May 18, 2020 after combatting PTSD and depression.
At his death, he was stationed at Creech Air Force Base, Las Vegas, Nevada as a drone pilot, flying the MQ-9 Reaper unmanned fighter aircraft on 595 combat missions. This assignment is where his battle with PTSD and depression began.
A 2011 graduate of the Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Systems Engineering Management, James received his pilot wings in 2012, training on the T-38.
His first flight assignment was flying the C-130J out of Dyess Air Force base in Abilene, Texas. During this time, he was deployed to Afghanistan where he flew 55 successful combat missions, including a mission in which he landed a damaged aircraft, saving the lives of the four crew members and the aircraft itself.
James’ career as a pilot allowed him to fly all around the world, which brought him great joy. He received 2 Air Medals and 17 Areal Achievement Medals for his service to his country.
James graduated from James Buchanan High School in 2007, excelling in academics and music. He was a member of the National Honor Society, piano accompanist for the chorus, and first chair violinist in the orchestra.
He was a former member of Christian Life Church Chambersburg, where he participated in mission trips and the youth ministry.
He was a hiker, hunter, fisherman, skier, mountain-biker, and certified sky-diver… James breathed the outdoors. At home, he was a carpenter, model builder, and self-taught chef, indulging in the culinary arts.
Gentle, sensitive, and empathetic, he always had a warm smile for everyone he met. James loved his family very much, including his sidekick canine companion, Radar.
Leaving to grieve his absence are his wife, Riley Spidel, whom he married on April 15, 2020; his parents, Jeffrey and Vickie Spidel of Saint Thomas, PA; his siblings, Jared (Meredith) Spidel of Downingtown, PA, Jonnah Speidel of Los Angeles, CA, and Jordan Spidel of Niceville, FL; his nephews and niece, Isaac, George, Elyse, and Jack; and his paternal grandfather, Carl L. Spidel of Chambersburg, PA.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Peggy and P. Larry Fraker, and his paternal grandmother, Patricia Spidel, all of Chambersburg, PA.
Future service information can be found at www.JamesSpidelMemorial.com. Memories of James are also available to view on this site.